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Thursday, December 31, 2015

DEQ unveils coal-ash risk classifications; environmentalist groups say they're watered down

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 5:09 PM

Today, on the dumpiest news-dump day of the year, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality released its draft classifying the risk levels of coal-ash sites in North Carolina. Environmental groups generally agree: It is weak as hell. The DEQ was required to rank 14 of Duke Energy's sites across N.C. Those deemed “high” risk would be excavated and cleaned out by 2019; “intermediate” risk would be excavated and cleaned out by 2019. Sites deemed “low” risk are more of a toss-up; they may continue to exist, or they might be excavated, or they might sit in limbo for several...

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Four questions with Thomas Mills, the Democratic candidate for North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 1:48 PM

Thomas Mills, a political campaign manager from Carrboro who runs the blog Politics North Carolina was never planning to run for office himself, but on the last day of filing for the 2016 election cycle he threw his name in the ring. Mills will challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Richard Hudson, a two-term congressman, for his seat to represent North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District. The district comprises a large swathe of the southern Piedmont, running from Concord north of Charlotte to Lumberton in the southeastern part of the state. We caught up with Mills—who’s spending the holidays with his family...

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

David Cox questions new guidelines for video presentations to Raleigh City Council

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 5:41 PM

The Raleigh City Council chamber’s video presentation system has been upgraded and along with the new hardware— including six new projector screens set up throughout the chamber and a touch-screen annotation system— there are some new rules. Not everyone’s happy about them. On the District B Facebook page yesterday morning, newly-seated Councilman David Cox posted a link to the city’s online announcement of an updated video presentation system, which Cox called “new restrictions on citizens presentations to Council that I am not convinced we need or should have.” The new video presentation system is designed to provide better video quality...

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Does Ann Coulter have a crush on Pat McCrory?

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2015 at 12:44 PM

Ann Coulter's Twitter feed is a shit-stream of right-wing commentary so intentionally "outrageous" that it somehow ends up being boring. Nobody knows if she believes half of the lowest-common-denominator jingoistic horse-shit that slimes out of her mouth and fingers, and, increasingly, nobody cares. Unless you enjoy being trolled, we cannot recommend joining the ranks of the approx. 732,000 humans and sad bots who follow her.  That being said! Yesterday, we couldn't help but notice that Coulter blew a little kiss in the general direction of North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.  Coulter is a big Trump supporter, and she thinks McCrory...

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

House Majority Leader Mike Hager bemoans gerrymandering, declines to do anything about it

Posted By on Tue, Dec 22, 2015 at 4:25 PM

Colin Campbell has a piece in The News & Observer today highlighting that 53 state legislators are running unopposed in their bids for re-election next year. (The INDY reported the same thing yesterday, FWIW.) That fact alone paints a pretty dismal picture of our state’s democracy, but a quote from a certain state legislator in particular, however, sticks out as especially perplexing: “Ideally we would like to have candidates in every race,” said House Majority Leader Mike Hager, a Republican from Rutherfordton who’s running unopposed. But Hager admits that recruiting candidates in heavily Democratic districts is a hard sell. “Why...

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Is the Carolina Comeback real? It depends on who you ask.

Posted By on Tue, Dec 22, 2015 at 11:07 AM

Ah, the Carolina Comeback, Gov. Pat McCrory’s alliterative, ambitious nomenclature for his aspirations for the post-Recession North Carolina economy. For some, the Carolina Comeback is a fairytale that’s never actually existed. For others, we’re smack dab in the middle of the comeback experience, and its fruition can be fully realized only when we vote to give McCrory another term in the governor’s office. Last week, those lefties over the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center’s Prosperity Watch blog released a short report lamenting the state’s “little economic progress in 2015” according to official economic data. In November, the state unemployment...

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Nearly half of all state legislative races will not be competitive this election cycle

Posted By on Mon, Dec 21, 2015 at 6:33 PM

Here’s some bad news for fans of and believers in participatory democracy in North Carolina: only one candidate will run for state House or Senate seats in nearly half— or 43 percent— of all of the state’s legislative district races this election cycle. The reason: gerrymandering. The candidate filing period closed Monday at noon, and for 72 of the state’s 170 seats, only one name will appear on the ballot this fall, according to a press release from the nonprofit Common Cause, which advocates for nonpartisan redistricting. For forty-one seats in the NC House and 13 in the Senate,...

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

A new tool to track police-stop data across North Carolina

Posted By on Thu, Dec 17, 2015 at 2:50 PM

In 1999, North Carolina became the first state in the country to pass a law requiring police officers to submit specific data about every traffic stop made. The statute requires the reporting of 45 different data points, including date and time; officer ID number; age, race, gender of the motorist; whether there was a search of the vehicle; whether that search was based on consent or probable cause; whether any contraband was found; how much contraband was found; and use of force. It’s a hugely thorough, and valuable, reservoir of information on law enforcement in North Carolina — 15 years,...

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Is Sen. Burr playing politics with classified intelligence?

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2015 at 5:26 PM

The day after the latest debate in the Republican presidential primary, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, in his position as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said that his staff was “looking into the possibility” that Sen. Ted Cruz leaked classified information on live television. Burr has not made any such statement, however, about a previous, less-covered leak by Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of Burr’s committee. Furthermore, Burr, by publicly confirming an investigation into whether or not Cruz leaked a specific percentage of phone records covered by the new USA Freedom Act, might have inadvertently confirmed that the...

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Real conservative blogger calls out those RINOs at the John Locke Foundation

Posted By on Tue, Dec 15, 2015 at 4:50 PM

It’s tough being conservative in North Carolina these days, what with your ideological purity being questioned at every turn and all. Republican In Name Only extraordinaire congresswoman Renee Ellmers found this out the hard way recently after carousing with the GOP establishment in Washington, and for her far-left stance on preserving abortion access for victims of rape and incest. So, who’s been caught in the trigger-happy, RINO-hunting crosshairs this time around? Why, no less than our friends over at the John Locke Foundation, those self-proclaimed champions of free markets, limited constitutional government and personal responsibility. Total RINOs. On a conservative...

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Mary K Mart gets her money

Posted By on Mon, Dec 14, 2015 at 4:17 PM

Well, here's a happy ending, sorta.  Raleigh drag performer Mary K Mart, aka Randy Light, received a check for the $1,465 Light was owed in unpaid vacation time by his former employer, the Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina, according to Mary K Mart's Facebook page.  Light was issued a cease and desist letter by the Raleigh nonprofit's attorney in October, warning him to stop disparaging the group publicly. The nonprofit, which has provided care, prevention and advocacy services to people living with HIV/AIDS experienced financial troubles late last year, when it fell behind on paying its taxes. The group lost...

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

In Raleigh, faith leaders pledge solidarity with U.S. Muslim community

Posted By on Sat, Dec 12, 2015 at 12:43 PM

On Monday of this week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said the U.S. should ban all Muslims from entering the country for an indefinite period of time. On Thursday, Canada’s newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greeted the first planeload of several thousand Syrian refugees who will be arriving in his country in the coming months, reportedly telling a young family “you are home, welcome home.” On Friday, I attended an inter-faith prayer service at the Islamic Association of Raleigh. Speakers included the Rev. William Barber and the Rev. Nancy Petty of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, as well as Imam...

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Thom Tillis votes against a resolution condemning Donald Trump’s no-Muslims plan, blames procedure

Posted By on Fri, Dec 11, 2015 at 10:17 AM

Still think Donald Trump speaks only for the furthest fringes of the Republican Party? One of North Carolina’s U.S. senators just proved you wrong. As you’ve probably heard, Trump, currently pulling more than double the support of his nearest rival, Ted Cruz, recently proposed a “temporary” (read: probably not temporary) ban on Muslims entering the United States. In his own words: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on. Of course, Trump’s idea is utterly idiotic and racist, not to...

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

LGBT rights groups sue state of North Carolina over magistrates’ bill

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 9:38 AM

Last fall, after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned North Carolina’s discriminatory Amendment One, the state’s leaders threw a series of hissy fits that resulted in several different bills that further discriminate against the LGBT community being filed. Senate Bill 2— which allows state-employed magistrates to recuse themselves from administering marriage licenses or performing marriages if they cite “a sincerely held religious objection,"—was forced through by the Legislature this spring and immediately vetoed by Gov. Pat McCrory. The Legislature voted to override the veto in June. On Wednesday morning, six plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit against the...

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Poll: Donald Trump’s belligerent Islamophobia actually helping him in North Carolina

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 4:21 PM

You may have heard that Donald Trump announced yesterday that he believes—or, at least, says he believes—that the United States should immediately ban all Muslims from entering the country.  Trump’s statement has been roundly criticized by most American politicians, including libtards such as Dick Cheney and Paul Ryan. But it remains to be seen if Trump's polling numbers will fall as a result. In North Carolina, they may even spike, if the numbers coming out of the Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling are accurate.  A new poll from PPP, released today, finds that Donald Trump supporters in North Carolina are responding quite...

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N.C.'s fracking capitol approves drilling ban

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 2:10 PM

This was expected, but, somehow, it still seems stunning. On Monday night, county commissioners in Lee County— likely North Carolina's prime hotbed for natural gas drilling, according to geologists—approved a sweeping, two-year moratorium on fracking within the county. The vote, which was backed by five of seven county commissioners, comes just a handful of years after residents in the economically troubled industrial county seemed overwhelmingly in support of drilling.  What a difference a few years and a tidal wave of bad publicity can make. Environmental groups, predictably, hailed the news Monday.  The two-year ban may someday prompt a lawsuit....

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Legal case begins against coal ash dumps in Chatham, Lee counties

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 10:38 AM

Two days after Thanksgiving, with plans for coal-ash dumping underway in abandoned brick mines in rural Chatham and Lee counties, community advocates made their last plea for a little holiday charity from Duke Energy. “The solution to the coal ash problem is not spreading the contamination to other sites,” wrote Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League executive director Louis Zeller in a “cease-and-desist” letter to Duke CEO Lynn Good. “Duke Energy has already polluted far too many North Carolina communities.” Cue the crickets. Now, without voluntary action from Duke and its contractors, environmentalists will have to pin their hopes on...

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Pat McCrory's Twitter account gets weird

Posted By on Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 12:25 PM

Usually, Pat McCrory's official Twitter account is reserved for fluff like this: On Saturday, though, it got weird. The governor, embroiled in what's likely to be a tight race with Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper and dogged by allegations of crony capitalism over state prison contracts, used his Twitter feed to complain.  Naturally, the Twittersphere, a bastion of independent, intelligent thought, well-written screeds and non-profanity-laced tirades, responded.  This: And this: And, yes, a little hostility. Politics NC's Thomas Mills took the opportunity to lampoon the governor's Twitter complaints Monday. "He managed to use 'me'...

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Nice work if you can get it: High Point University’s president sure gets paid pretty well (and Duke’s isn’t far behind)

Posted By on Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 11:35 AM

The highest-paid college president in North Carolina is not running Duke, UNC, NC State or Wake Forest. That honor belongs instead to Nido Qubein, president of High Point University, a private school 70 miles west of Durham with an enrollment of 4,400. Qubein, a motivational speaker who once authored a book titled How to Get Anything You Want, earned $2.9 million in total compensation in 2013, according to a just-released annual survey of presidential compensation at private colleges by the Chronicle of Higher Education. That makes Qubein the third-highest-paid private-college president in the country. Only the presidents of Columbia University...

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Photo Journal: Donald Trump at Dorton Arena

Posted By on Sat, Dec 5, 2015 at 2:46 PM

Speaking to an audience of more than 7,000 at Dorton Arena, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump mentioned many of the issues his campaign has been founded on. Illegal immigration, the war with ISIS and education reform were all addressed, without much detail as to what he would do about them, only that he vowed to tackle these issues differently than the current administration. Trump was interrupted several times by protesters in the crowd, all of whom were escorted out by security. Near the end of his short speech, Trump took questions, and then signed items from the gathered crowd before...

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Friday, December 4, 2015

So many white people: An evening with Donald Trump

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2015 at 6:46 PM

Happy Friday everyone! If you are reading this blog, you would probably rather be doing literally anything else in the world than listening to Donald Trump speak at Dorton Arena. FOMO? Don't worry- I cut to the front of a mile-long line for access, got bounced from the press area by an unfriendly, walking haircut from ABC 11, received some Evangelical literature targeting the immigrant population (wtf, I know).... but I'm here, sitting among the general public, chanting USA with a sidelong view  of the Trump podium to bring you important updates live from Dorton arena (capacity 7,000) by...

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Judge rules against 13-year-old climate change activist

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2015 at 1:44 PM

The 13-year-old who took North Carolina to court over climate change has lost her case. While Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan has yet to hand down his official ruling in Hallie Turner's case, Turner's family tells the Indy that the judge did notify the family that he has ruled in favor of the state.  Turner, a climate activist since the fourth grade, asked N.C.'s Environmental Management Commission (EMC), a board of appointees that drafts rules for environmental protections, to issue a rule requiring the state to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by at least 4 percent each year.  "Our...

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Dept. of Bad Timing: The News and Observer ran a front-page gun-shop ad the day after the California massacre

Posted By on Thu, Dec 3, 2015 at 2:26 PM

Yes, the N&O, like all reputable news outlets, has a wall between edit and sales, such that one doesn’t know what the other is doing. Still, this ad placement, atop an above-the-fold headline on the 14 people who were gunned down yesterday in California, seems particularly unfortunate, the kind of thing someone, somewhere should have spotted before going to press. Or maybe let’s do away with the obnoxious front-page sticky altogether. Just a thought. (The N&O, by the way, isn’t the first newspaper to run into this sort of issue. Earlier this year, the Florida Times-Union had almost the...

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Pat McCrory does not like The News and Observer, send him money please

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 5:20 PM

So hey, remember how The News & Observer did this big thing in late October on the governor securing a private-prisons deal for a buddy/campaign contributor over the objections of prison-system officials? No? You should go read it. We’ll wait.  Now, remember how McCrory dismissed the whole thing as a big ol’ liberal conspiracy ginned up by the lying liberal media? McCrory said Saturday that the newspapers “clearly attempted to give the impression that something improper or even illegal was done. Clearly, just the opposite occurred.” He said his administration went through “an ethical process and made a sound,...

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Downtown Raleigh hungry for food trucks, City Council says wait

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 4:48 PM

In September, Raleigh's City Council voted to allow food trucks to operate in downtown neighborhoods. It was a big step forward for a city that's been reluctant to allow food trucks at all, despite residents advocating for them for years. But instead of moving forward again, last night the council stalled, by voting to delay a pilot program that would allow food trucks to operate on public streets, during lunch hours, in five different locations downtown. That’s one food truck per location per day in areas chosen specifically for their non-abundance of lunch-serving restaurants and bars (like near the...

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Fine work, Mr. Billman. Your readers are probably aware that most of the NC conservative shenanigans can be laid at …

by growlybear on The Republican Power Plays at the Heart of N.C. Politics (News)

I have very little patience for the empty-headed Pro-poison crowd, which is begging the government to take everyones rights away …

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About time some one fixed this.

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And I'm just getting started- What do you think of a society that ritualizes placing its babies -their most vulnerable, …

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Feel free to put your faith in pharmaceutical products if you want to live like that. I prefer not to, …

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Fine work, Mr. Billman. Your readers are probably aware that most of the NC conservative shenanigans can be laid at …

by growlybear on The Republican Power Plays at the Heart of N.C. Politics (News)

I have very little patience for the empty-headed Pro-poison crowd, which is begging the government to take everyones rights away …

by DoritoReiss on The Problem with N.C.’s Religious Exemption Law (News)

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